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Biss' patent troll crackdown signed into law

Biss100SPRINGFIELD — Legislation State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) sponsored to crack down on "patent trolls" became law this week.

"Illinois businesses — particularly small businesses that aren't in a position to hire pricey legal representation and embark on lengthy court battles against harassing fraudsters — deserve the full protection of the law," Biss said. "The new penalties will put patent trolls on notice that Illinois isn't a fertile location for their scams."

The new law targets the practice of extorting money from businesses by threatening to sue them for fictitious violations of patents that may have expired or may not be owned by the "trolls" at all. Patent trolling is lucrative because many businesses, especially smaller companies that can't afford to hire legal representation, opt to pay the scammers rather than spending time and money fighting them in court.

Biss' measure prohibits misrepresenting one's self as the owner of a patent, seeking compensation on the basis of activities undertaken after a patent has expired, falsely claiming to have filed a patent lawsuit or using any written form of communication, including email, to falsely accuse a person or company of a patent violation with the intent of forcing a settlement. If found to be in violation of the law, patent trolls will be subject to civil penalties and/or forced to pay restitution.

Kotowski holds hearing on illegal crime guns

“We have to offer meaningful solutions and give our police the resources they need to get guns off the streets.” - State Senator Dan Kotowski

Gun Control HearingRCHICAGO – State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) held a second subcommittee hearing on Wednesday to develop state-level solutions to the issue of illegal crime guns in Chicago and the rest of Illinois.

“I wanted to hear from the state police about what we can do to address illegal guns in Chicago," Kotowski said. “We have to offer meaningful solutions and give our police the resources they need to get guns off the streets and save lives.”

The subcommittee hearing featured testimony from the Illinois State Police and Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. Witnesses discussed public safety recommendations and securing necessary funding support to address gun trafficking statewide.

Morrison named “Environmental Champion” by Illinois Environmental Council

IL Env. CouncilSPRINGFIELD – Every year, the Illinois Environmental Council – a 39-year-old organization that serves as the environmental community's voice before the Illinois state legislature – honors a select group of legislators who have taken firm steps to protect the environment. This year, state Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) is one of the honorees.

“I want to thank the Illinois Environmental Council for all of the good work it does,” Morrison said. “I know how important protecting the environment is to members of the communities I represent, and I hope to do even more in the future.”

Harris hosts Harvey re-employment resource fair

p-harrisToday, State Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey) hosted a Re-Employment Resource Fair at the Gloria Taylor Banquet Hall in Harvey.

The event helped residents from the community learn about job opportunities with the state and local companies. Central Management Services gave a presentation about the State’s application process and employment opportunities within the agency.

“The 15th Senate district has some of the most economically depressed communities in the state, mostly due to lack of jobs,” Sen. Harris said. “Our community needs jobs, plain and simple, and if I’m not helping find a solution then I’m part of the problem.”

At today’s event, the Illinois Department of Employment Securities provided attendees with resume help, information about the Illinois workNet program and other services to assist with improving attendee’s chances of finding employment.

“Helping people find jobs directly impacts our community’s economic sustainability,” Harris said. “It’s a proven fact that when unemployment increases, crime increases. I just want to do my part to help our neighborhoods reach their full potential.”

Several state agencies and private companies were also on hand to provide participants with information about job vacancies.